Pope Benedict XVI made reaching out to other faiths and promoting Christian unity hallmarks of his tenure. Pope Francis will continue this work, not only because he has a history of facilitating religious dialogue, but also because global Catholicism requires it.
The pope infuriated Muslims worldwide with remarks suggesting Islam lacked a basis in "reason." On Sunday he offered a rare apology, but some Islamic groups are skeptical and protests continue in several Muslim countries.
Pope Benedict XVI has requested a report on the use of condoms in cases involving HIV. The issue divides church traditionalists and pragmatists, and could signify the first major crossroads of Benedict's papacy.
Timothy Samuel Shah, a scholar on religious issues, says that when Pope Benedict XVI makes his first visit to the United States as pope, it will give Americans their first chance to hear firsthand his views on Iraq, the environment, and immigration.
"After a decade of paedophilia scandals, the allegations of financial impropriety seemed set to unleash another storm of criticism and had to be addressed. Outside auditors as well as financial risk consultants were already coming into the Vatican but the arrest of Scarano made the case for reform unavoidable. "We cannot have any more scandal. It is so shameful," a senior member of the Vatican's financial administration said."